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Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter - December 2004

This is the December 2004 edition of the World Bank Civil Society Engagement eNewsletter which is a regular electronic newsletter sent to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) worldwide.  It is produced by the Civil Society Team of the World Bank (WB) in collaboration with other WB units.  This newsletter highlights some of the many policies, programs, and initiatives of the WB which may involve or be of interest to CSOs.

THERE ARE 14 ITEMS IN THIS ISSUE:

1.  Revised World Bank Draft Operational Policy on Indigenous Peoples Available for Public Comment
2. World Bank Launches Its Conditionality Review
3. Way Forward for World Bank Social Development Implementation Plan Unanimously Endorsed
4. Global Bank - CSO Workshop on Water Policies Held in London
5. World Bank Marks the Anniversary of the UN Anti-Corruption Convention

6. Donors Pledge to Improve Education for Europe's Largest Minority
7. World Bank President Addresses European Civil Society Symposium on Street Children
8. World Bank Sanctions in Cambodia, Croatia and Timor-Leste Cases
9. COMMENT: A Toolkit on Approaches to Private Participation in Water Services
10. 
News from the World Bank's Regional Departments

Africa

  • WB Approves Funding For the West African Gas Pipeline in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo
  • Economic Recovery Credit for the Republic of Congo
  • Ethiopia: Second Poverty Reduction Support Operation
  • WB Approves Second Social Action Fund for Tanzania

East Asia and Pacific (EAP)

  • World Bank Knowledge Center Gives Access to People With Disabilities
  • Donors Pledge Continued Support For Vietnam's Poverty Reduction and Growth Objectives

Europe and Central Asia (ECA)

  • Semi-Annual Meeting of ECA NGO Working Group
  • Third Poverty Reduction Support Credit for Albania
  • WB Supports Implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy in Armenia
  • Small Grants Program 2004 in Armenia: Invitation to Submit Proposals
  • Caspian Environment Forum
  • Croatian Government Endorses Country Assistance Strategy and Programmatic Adjustment Loan
  • WB Launches New Country Assistance Strategy for Moldova

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

  • Sustainable Development Program in Northern Brazil
  • World Bank Announces US$20 Million For Hurricane Ivan Emergency Recovery In Grenada
  • WB Grants for School Feeding Program and Education Initiative in Haiti
  • Pilot Projects on Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua
  • WB Approves Loans for Social Services, Decentralization and Competitiveness in Peru

Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

  • Iraq Receives $145 Million for Reconstruction and Development
  • WB on Palestinian Economic Prospects and Israeli Disengagement

South Asia Region (SAR)

  • WB President Visits India and Meets with Indian CSOs

11. New Publications from the World Bank

  • HIV/AIDS and Disability: Capturing Hidden Voices
  • Improving Health, Nutrition and Population Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of the World Bank
  • Intellectual Property and Development: Lessons from Recent Economic Research
  • Protecting Asia's Biodiversity
  • The Macroeconomics of HIV/AIDS

12. New Websites/Web Resources

  • Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP)
  • Quarterly Online External Debt Database

13. Upcoming and Ongoing Global Events/Discussions

  • Online Discussion on Women and Poverty
  • World Bank Institute's Labor Market Policies Core Course, February 28-March 11, 2005

14. Recent Global Events/Discussions

  • 2nd IWRM Conference held in Tokyo, Japan, December 6-9
  • 18th ICFTU World Congress in Miyazaki, Japan, December 5-10
  • The Community Driven Development (CDD) Training of Trainers, December 5-10, 2004
  • "Using Country Systems" consultation meeting held in Tokyo, Japan, December 3
  • World Bank Calls for Action on Disability and Poverty, as World Celebrates International Day of Disabled Persons
  • High-Level Roundtable on International Environmental Governance
  • World Bank-Civil Society Discussion on Advancing Civil Society Accountability: Standards, Self-Regulation, and Certification, November 11
  • Fourth LAC Regional Thematic Forum (RTF): Harvesting Opportunities - Rural Development in the 21st Century, October 19-21

1. Revised World Bank Draft Operational Policy on Indigenous Peoples Available for Public Comment - On November 29, the Committee on Development Effectiveness of the WB's Board endorsed the posting of the Revised Draft Operational Policy on Indigenous Peoples (Revised Draft OP 4.10) for public comment. This Draft has been developed over the last six years, taking into account inputs from numerous consultations with external stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples leaders, CSOs and borrower governments. The Revised Draft Policy will remain posted for public comment until February 28, 2005. Following the comment period, the Revised Draft policy, together with a report summarizing the comments, will be forwarded to the Bank's Board of Executive Directors for consideration of its policy content, including the title of the policy. Once approved by the Board, Operational Policy 4.10 will replace the existing Operational Directive 4.20 on Indigenous Peoples.  The Revised Draft Operational Policy is available in English, Spanish and French. To review the draft policy, submit your comments, and find out more on WB's work on the policy, please visit this website: http://www.worldbank.org/indigenouspeoples.

2. World Bank Launches Its Conditionality Review - The WB is currently taking stock of its practices in the use of conditionality in policy-based lending, and is preparing a series of review papers on recent trends, approaches, and lessons learned.  The papers will explore new approaches to specific implementation issues, such as predictability, harmonization, and ways to operationalize a results framework and determine the appropriate level, content, and scope of conditionality.  As part of the review process the WB is seeking comments on the Bank's conditionality, in general, as well as on a number of issues identified in the past.   The consultation process started in December 2004 and will conclude at the Bank's 2005 Annual Meetings. You are welcome to share your comments on: Review of World Bank Conditionality - Issues Paper, that forms the basis for the consultation process.  In the process, the WB will carry out a number of face-to-face discussions with borrowers, multilateral and bilateral donor partners, CSOs, and the private sector.  Concurrently, a moderated electronic discussion will be carried out. To learn more about the consultation process, and to review the Issues Paper, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/conditionality.

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3. Way Forward for World Bank Social Development Implementation Plan Unanimously Endorsed - On December 8, 2004, the WB's Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE) unanimously endorsed the way forward for social development in WB's operations in their review of the paper: Transforming Institutions to Empower People: Social Development in Bank Operations prepared by the Social Development Department of the WB.   With the goal of empowering poor and marginalized women and men, social development is seen as a process of transforming institutions for greater inclusion, cohesion and accountability. CODE suggested a change in the title of the document to: "Empowering People by Transforming Institutions" to "put people first."  CODE's recommendations also included the need for more conceptual work on social policy in a globalized world, which the Social Development Department plans to begin in 2005.  The paper will be available on the Social Development Website at: http://www.worldbank.org/socialdevelopment.

4. Global Bank - CSO Workshop on Water Policies Held in London - The Bank recently hosted a two-day policy dialogue workshop with international CSOs on urban water supply and sanitation issues.  Held in London on November 18–19, the workshop brought together Bank staff and representatives from 22 NGOs, labor unions, and community groups from across the globe.  The workshop was co-organized with Water Aid and a small group of CSOs which helped design the  agenda and invite participants.  The workshop included presentations on the Bank’s water policies and programs and CSO-managed community delivery systems, as well as a substantive discussion on such sensitive issues as cost recovery, performance of public utilities, and private sector participation. A number of follow-up actions were identified including more systematic sharing of the Bank’s  project documents, possible civil society panel during 2005 Water Week; and joint studies on good practice experiences for scaling-up community water delivery systems. 

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5. World Bank Marks the Anniversary of the UN Anti-Corruption Convention - December 6 marked the first anniversary of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), signed by 114 nations, but so far ratified by only 14.  World Bank Institute governance director Daniel Kaufmann,  who led the WB’s team at the signing ceremony in 2003, says it was a significant achievement for the UN to get consensus around the globe to combat corruption, through the convention.  He stated, however, that all the countries that have ratified it so far are from emerging economies, and it is critical that rich countries accelerate their ratification process.  In his presentation at a conference marking the 2004 UN Anti-Corruption day in Colombia, Kaufmann said that the Bank supports this important initiative and has been urging all countries to ratify it and work towards effective implementation and monitoring mechanisms.  He concluded his reflections by commenting that the WB would continue to measure and monitor governance and anti-corruption performance worldwide in cooperation with governments, CSOs, and others.  To learn more about WB's work on corruption, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/anticorruption.

6. Donors Pledge to Improve Education for Europe's Largest Minority - A donors meeting held in Paris on December 3 pledged in excess of US$41 million towards a decade-long program to expand educational opportunities for Roma communities in Central Europe and the Balkans.  Of this total some $30 million was pledged by the Open Society Institute.  Some 70 representatives from international financial organizations, private foundations, governments, and Roma leaders participated in the meeting.  The conference was co-organized by the WB, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), and the Open Society Institute.  The pledges announced in Paris are a down payment that will allow the Roma Education Fund to start operating in 2005.  The Fund is a central pillar of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 which will be inaugurated by heads of government from eight countries of Central Europe and the Balkans at an event in Sofia, Bulgaria in February 2005.  To learn more about the Roma Education Fund as well as WB's work on Roma issues, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/roma.

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7. World Bank President Addresses European Civil Society Symposium on Street Children - Mr. James D. Wolfensohn, President of the WB, provided a welcome and introductory speech, via video link, at the European Network on Street Children Worldwide (ENSCW) symposium on street children in East and Central Europe held in Brussels, Belgium on December 9-10. The symposium Street Children and Youth as a Priority of the European Union’s Social Inclusion Policy for the New Member States in Central and Eastern Europe aimed to raise awareness on issues related to street children in Eastern Europe, and exchange best practices on the matter. It brought together a number of representatives from civil society, academia, governments, and international organizations. Mr. Wolfensohn made a speech in which he pointed out that between 100 and 150 million children are currently living on the street globally. This has become a significant problem in East and Central Europe. The World Bank is giving priority in its efforts to support Roma children, including the most vulnerable living on the streets, by investing in education programs.  Based on the conclusions of the symposium, ENSCW will draft a strategic report on the problems of streets children to be presented to the European Commission and European Governments.  For more info on the Bank’s work on youth and children and the Roma see: http://www.worldbank.org/childrenandyouth, and http://www.worldbank.org/roma.

8. World Bank Sanctions in Cambodia, Croatia and Timor-Leste Cases - The WB announced on November 22 the debarment of a number of individuals and firms for fraudulent practices in relation to World Bank-financed projects in: Cambodia -  Demobilization and Reintegration Project (CDRP); Croatia -  Health System Project (CHSP); and a WB-administered Emergency School Readiness Project in Timor-Leste. These firms and individuals will be ineligible to receive any new WB-financed contracts for the periods of their debarments. These actions are part of the WB’s broad anticorruption efforts initiated by President James Wolfensohn in 1996.  More information on this decision as well as the WB’s overall anticorruption policies and activities can be found at http://www.worldbank.org/anticorruption.

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9. COMMENT: A Toolkit on Approaches to Private Participation in Water Services - The WB is preparing a new toolkit on the design of private participation in water and sanitation (water services). The Toolkit aims to help municipal, provincial, and central governments in developing countries to design public - private partnerships that extend access to efficient water services at reasonable prices. The Toolkit derives from the Infrastructure Action Plan, in which the WB highlighted a framework for providing clients with a broad menu of options for public and private roles in the provision and financing of infrastructure services. Upcoming products on modes of engagement with public providers will describe other options.  Draft consultation for the Toolkit started in December 2003 and comments are sought on this fourth and final draft until December 24, 2004. Please visit: http://rru.worldbank.org/Toolkits/WaterServices/ to review the Toolkit and share your comments.

10. News from the World Bank's Regional Departments

Africa

  • WB Approves Funding For the West African Gas Pipeline in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo - The WB approved on November 23 a total of US$125 million in guarantees supporting the construction of a 678 km gas pipeline to transport natural gas from Nigeria to three other West African nations: Benin, Ghana and Togo.  The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) provided US$75 million for up to 20 years and the International Development Association (IDA) guarantee is for US$50 million for 22 years.  World Bank Group funds are earmarked to cover payment obligations by the Government of Ghana and although the Bank commitment is relatively small compared to the total cost of the project which is US$590 million, they are seen by private investors as the condition for their participation in the project. The gas flowing from Nigeria to the three neighboring countries will be used initially for power generation, and later for other industrial and commercial uses.  More information about the project can be found on the WB website of the Africa region, at: http://www.worldbank.org/afr.
  • Economic Recovery Credit for the Republic of Congo - The WB approved on December 7 an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$30 million to support the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Congo to spur economic growth and alleviate poverty in a difficult post-conflict context. The Economic Recovery Credit focuses on critical reforms aimed at further enhancing efficiency and transparency in the management of the oil sector, and improving allocation of public resources in support of growth and social priorities, notably the public investment program.  The Credit will also help settle domestic arrears, which constitute a key constraint to private sector activity in the country.  When fully implemented, the activities envisaged under the project are expected to relieve budgetary pressures and enhance  the business environment.  It is hoped that this financing will help the country increase its growth rate and improve social stability, which are two critical requirements for the country to reduce the levels of conflict which have undermined it throughout the 1990s.  More information can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/cg.
  • Ethiopia: Second Poverty Reduction Support Operation - The WB approved on November 30 a US$130 million grant to the Government of Ethiopia to support the implementation of its Second Poverty Reduction Support Operation (PRSC-II).  The PRSC-II supports Ethiopia’s Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program (SDPRP).  The specific objectives of the operation are to support implementation of key SDPRP reforms to (i) improve the investment climate; (ii) improve governance and service delivery, and (iii) reduce vulnerability.  The operation is also supporting the Government in improving planning and budgeting processes in an increasingly inclusive and efficient manner. The project also supports the decentralization process by providing funds for timely and predictable fiscal support to local governments. PRSC-II will help the Government of Ethiopia continue to maintain a sound macroeconomic framework essential for achieving the growth potential, and implement its comprehensive reform program.For more information about this, as well as other WB operations in Ethiopia, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/et.
  • WB Approves Second Social Action Fund for Tanzania - An International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$129 million and a grant of US$21 million were approved by the WB on November 30.  The operations aim to improve social infrastructure and enhance access to essential public services by poor communities in Tanzania. The program will help empower individuals, households, and communities in the implementation of measures which can assist them in better managing risks associated with health, education, sanitation, water, transportation, energy and food insecurity.  It will also provide support to the critically vulnerable through a variety of sustainable interventions.  It will pay attention to improving social services and increasing empowerment and accountability in the areas of finance and governance.  It also establishes clear links between community sub-projects being funded and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as outlined in the Tanzania Poverty Reduction Strategy.  More information about this program can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/tz.

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East Asia and Pacific (EAP)

  • World Bank Knowledge Center Gives Access to People With Disabilities - A new and unique knowledge center that gives access to development information is now open in Manila, Philippines to people with disabilities. Recently retrofitted and equipped with modern adaptive equipment and facilities, the Knowledge for Development Center (KDC), which has been operating since 2002, is now more accessible to the blind and visually impaired, deaf, and other persons with disabilities (PWDs). All accessibility equipment and facilities were designed with the help of ATRIEV (Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration, and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired), a local NGO working with PWDs, and in consultation with other PWD organizations. More information about this initiative can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/ph.
  • Donors Pledge Continued Support For Vietnam's Poverty Reduction and Growth Objectives - Donor agencies expressed continued support for the objectives and approach of Vietnam's Comprehensive Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy (CPRGS) at the conclusion of the Twelfth Consultative Group (CG) Meeting on Vietnam, which was co-chaired by the Government of Vietnam and the WB.   As the country starts preparing the next Socio-Economic Development Plan (SEDP), 2006-2010, donors pledged US$3.4 billion in assistance for the coming year, almost US$600 million higher than the pledge of US$2.8 billion at last year's CG. Of the total increase, around US$170 million is due to exchange rate changes since last year and about US$100 million is due to the inclusion for the first time of international NGO's in this year's CG pledge. To learn more about the outcomes of the CG, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/vn.

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Europe and Central Asia (ECA)

  • Semi-Annual Meeting of ECA NGO Working Group - The Bank's ECA region held its semi-annual meeting with a group of ECA NGO leaders in Tbilisi, Georgia on December 9 - 11.   The meeting of the ECA NGO Working Group focussed on the implementation of the Working Group's Action Plan, and particularly on  the preparations for the regional CSO Forum scheduled for June 8-12, 2005 in Bratislava, Slovakia.  Participants also discussed the evaluation of the World Bank's Small Grants Program and issues related to NGO advocacy and networking efforts around inter-governmental development agencies in the ECA region.  The meeting was followed by a session with representatives of Georgian NGOs.  For more information: www.ecangowg.org.
  • Third Poverty Reduction Support Credit for Albania - The WB approved on December 7 a US$10 million Third Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC-3) for the Republic of Albania. The PRSC-3 is designed to continue supporting policies and reforms based on the Government’s three-year National Strategy for Social and Economic Development (NSSED).  The PRSC program is structured around four components: promoting sustainable growth and supporting private sector development; strengthening capacity to monitor and evaluate the Government's policy agenda; improving service delivery and social safety net effectiveness; and improving core public sector functions and institutional arrangements.  To learn more about this, and other WB programs in Albania, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/al.
  • WB Supports Implementation of Poverty Reduction Strategy in Armenia - The WB approved on November 18 a Poverty Reduction Support Credit (PRSC) for  Armenia  worth  US$ 20 million. The first of a three-year program by the WB, this project is designed around four themes and targeted to support the implementation of the government's PRSP program.  The International Development Association (IDA) Credit will assist the government to: sharpen competition and consolidate property rights; mitigate social and environmental risks; consolidate macroeconomic discipline; and modernize the rural economy.  The PRSC is based upon and supports the policy and institutional reforms reflected in the Government's PRSP document, and builds on achievements of the previous Bank supported Structural Adjustment operations supported by the WB from 1994 until 2003.  More information about this, and other WB programs in Armenia, can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/am.
  • Small Grants Program 2004 in Armenia: Invitation to Submit Proposals -The WB's Yerevan Office jointly with the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation (OSIAF) in Armenia invites application proposals under the Small Grants Program (SGP). The grants will be in the amount of $6,000-$8,000 and will be available to the local registered nongovernmental nonprofit organizations on a competitive basis with at least two years of experience. The SGP will support programs related to civic engagement for the empowerment of marginalized and vulnerable groups. The deadline for submissions is February 20, 2004.  To learn more, please visit the website of the WB office in Yerevan: http://www.worldbank.org/am.
  • Caspian Environment Forum - The Forum was held in Baku, Azerbaijan on November 19 - 20.  The Caspian Environment Program Investment and Donors' Forum was established to strengthen efforts by international organizations, governments, CSOs and the Caspian governments to support the sustainable use of Caspian natural resources by local fishermen, ecologists, and entrepreneurs.  This in light of  eroding and stressed Caspian biodiversity and ecosystem.  The Forum showcased investment and technical assistance priorities identified by parties to National Caspian Action Plans (NCAPs) and the regional Caspian Strategic Action Program (SAP). The five countries of the Caspian—Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan— updated donors on their progress in carrying out environmental investments, research and institutional reforms as called for in the NCAPs and SAPs.  To learn more about the Forum, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/caspianenvironmentforum.
  • Croatian Government Endorses Country Assistance Strategy and Programmatic Adjustment Loan - The Government of Croatia endorsed the Croatian Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) 2005-08 and the Programmatic Adjustment Loan (PAL) in November in two separate Cabinet sessions. This endorsement paves the way for the presentation of the CAS to the WB Board on December 21, 2004.  The CAS focuses on supporting the Government's European Integration agenda with emphasis on growth, empowerment, and environmental sustainability. The CAS offers three scenarios for Bank financing, a low-case, a base-case, and a high case, with the high-case amounting to US$1.5 billion. The first PAL will focus on fiscal consolidation issues. For more information on WB's programs in Croatia, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/hr.
  • WB Launches New Country Assistance Strategy for Moldova - The WB's Board of Executive Directors discussed on December 14 a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for Moldova. The new CAS for Moldova covers the period 2005-2008 and envisages a lending program of between $90 million and $137 million. Priorities of the new CAS include promoting conditions for sustaining growth and employment creation; improving access to social capital, services and community infrastructure; and improving public sector governance and combating corruption. The CAS will also support greater involvement of civil society in exercising accountability over public action and the delivery of public services, focusing attention on community-driven development, and supporting stronger local government ownership and leadership.  To learn more about the CAS as well as other WB operations in Moldova, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/md.

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Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

  • Sustainable Development Program in Northern Brazil - The US$4.8 million Amapa Sustainable Communities Project was approved by the WB on December 7.  Its goal is to support Amazon-specific approaches to reduce urban and rural poverty through measures that are environmentally sustainable, economically efficient, and socially equitable.  The project will reinforce state policies designed to improve human welfare, protect the environment, and decentralize decision-making.  The project aims to benefit 198,000 citizens of Amapa living in poverty, including groups at greatest risk such as river dwellers, rubber tappers, female-headed households, indigenous communities, and Afro-Brazilians living in informal quilombos.  To learn  more about this, as well as other WB programs in Brazil, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/br.
  • World Bank Announces US$20 Million For Hurricane Ivan Emergency Recovery In Grenada - The WB announced on November 19 a total of US$20 million to support Hurricane Ivan recovery efforts in Grenada.  The Hurricane Ivan Emergency Recovery Project will provide additional assistance to support the overall recovery program through the financing of critical imports and the rehabilitation of infrastructure in the education and health sectors.  One of specific objectives of the project is restoring school infrastructure to an operational level, and ensuring a prompt return of children to schools.  To learn more about this program, please visit the WB website on its work in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, located at: http://www.worldbank.org/oecs.
  • WB Grants for School Feeding Program and Education Initiative in Haiti - Two grant agreements for US $1.3 million to support Haiti's national school feeding program and to improve the quality of education programs through public-private partnerships were approved by the WB on December 6.  An additional US$2 million in grants was signed by the Bank in November for a total of US$3.3 million in trust fund grant financing to support recovery efforts in Haiti. The school feeding program aims to help improve  primary school attendance and improve student readiness by ensuring nutrition for poor children. The program will provide daily meals during the school year for some 20,000 students in 70 schools in poor areas of the country.  The second grant will help establish an Office for Public-Private Partnerships for Education and finalize the Education For All (EFA) Strategy.  More information about these WB initiatives can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/ht.
  • Pilot Projects on Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation in Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua - The Civil Society Team, in conjunction with the Social Development Anchor and the World Bank Institute, has begun implementation of pilot projects on participatory monitoring and evaluation of activities under the PRSPs in Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Each of the cities identified municipal services or projects citizens wished to monitor such as waste management, public education, municipal health clinics, or compliance of campaign promises by elected officials. The pilot projects include a strong capacity building component geared to local leaders in order to effectively transfer knowledge through practical experience.  You can find more information about this, as well as other WB programs in Nicaragua, by visiting: http://www.worldbank.org/ni.
  • WB Approves Loans for Social Services, Decentralization and Competitiveness in Peru - The WB approved on December 7 two loans for a total of $200 million to improve access of the poor to critical social programs, assist with the government decentralization process, and enhance competitiveness.  The first loan, US$100 million Fourth Programmatic Social Reform Loan (PSRL IV),is the fourth and final stage of a four-year program to support reforms aimed at increasing access, transparency, and efficiency in social service provision. The second loan approved is the $100 million Second Programmatic Decentralization and Competitiveness Structural Adjustment Loan (DECSAL II). This operation will assist the government of Peru in the decentralization of public functions and resources while supporting its competitive enhancement program.  More information on these programs can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/pe.

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Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

  • Iraq Receives $145 Million for Reconstruction and Development - The WB signed on December 6 three grant agreements with representatives from the interim Iraqi government for reconstruction and development projects in Iraq totaling $145 million. million of the funds, which are financed through World Bank’s Iraq Trust Fund, will be channeled to emergency projects in health, water supply & sanitation, and reconstruction in urban centers.  The remaining $55 million will be used to strengthen the financial and private sectors, of which $40 million will finance the building of a modern telecommunications network across the country.  To date, international donors have pledged approximately $400 million to the Iraq Trust Fund, the World Bank arm of the Joint UN-World Bank International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq.  to finance a program of emergency projects and technical assistance which is based on an interim country assistance strategy.  More information about the WB work in Iraq can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/iq.
  • WB on Palestinian Economic Prospects and Israeli Disengagement - Four years since the outbreak of the intifada in September 2000, the Palestinian economy continues to be mired in deep recession according to a WB report released on November 22. The Intifada, Closures and Palestinian Economic Crisis: An Assessment is the third in a series of reports that examine the impact of the socioeconomic crisis in the West Bank and Gaza and it reveals that although the Palestinian economy recovered in 2003, this upturn was short-lived.  The economy remains severely depressed compared with the pre-intifada period, with business closures stifling economic activity and restricting the movement of people and goods. In another report Stagnation or Revival? Israeli Disengagement and Palestinian Economic Prospects, released on December 2, the WB argues that only through a Disengagement Plan that is accompanied by a rolling back of Israel's closure policy and a stronger Palestinian commitment to reform, will the Palestinian economy grow out of its present stagnation.  The reports were discussed at a meeting of international donors for the West Bank and Gaza in Oslo on December 8, 2004. To read the reports, and learn more about WB's programs in the West Bank and Gaza, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/ps.

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South Asia Region (SAR)

  • WB President Visits India and Meets with Indian CSOs - Responding to an invitation from the Indian Finance Minister, WB President, Mr. James D. Wolfensohn visited India on Nov. 17-18, 2004. The visit included tours of development projects focusing on education, rural development and health in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, as well as meetings with government leaders, representatives of civil society, business people, youth groups, and community leaders in New Delhi. Mr. Wolfensohn also delivered an address entitled India: Opportunity and Challenge in a Globalized World at the Teen Murti Auditorium on November 17, 2004. On November 18 Mr. and Mrs. Wolfensohn met for breakfast with 11 Indian CSO representatives.  The meeting had two main objectives: (i) provide an opportunity for the CSOs to share their experience of working with the Bank at the community level in order to not only promote sustainable development and empower the poor, but strengthen civic engagement in the process; and (ii) an opportunity for them to listen to Mr. Wolfensohn's views on the important role civil society plays in promoting poverty reduction. To learn more about the visit as well as WB's program in India, please visit the website of WB's local office at: http://www.worldbank.org/in.

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11. New Publications from the World Bank

  • HIV/AIDS and Disability: Capturing Hidden Voices - As AIDS continues to spread in East and South Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa, experts from the WB and Yale University warn that a key group is being largely overlooked in efforts to stop the spread of the disease.  These are the 600 million people who live with a physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health disability.  The research paper, titled HIV/AIDS and Disability: Capturing Hidden Voices was based on survey responses from 57 countries and found that while all individuals with disability are vulnerable to HIV infection, there are increased risks for subgroups such as women with disability, disabled members of ethnic and minority communities, disabled adolescents and disabled individuals who live in institutions.  To read the paper, please visit the WB website on HIV/AIDS at: http://www.worldbank.org/hivaids.
  • Improving Health, Nutrition and Population Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of the World Bank - While attention in many developing regions is increasingly moving away from communicable disease, Africa continues to face a high burden of communicable disease, malnutrition, and fertility.  The book takes an in-depth look at health, nutrition, and population (HNP) challenges faced by Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly how disease, malnutrition, and high fertility affect poverty reduction. The authors contend that the WB has a comparative advantage in contributing within four broad areas: 1) macroeconomics and health, 2) multisectoral action for health, 3) strengthening health systems, and 4) financing service delivery. They also address the opportunities and challenges within these four areas and conclude with suggestions on how the Bank can better operate within the sector and work effectively with partners.  The publication is available for purchase at: http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/catalog/product?item_id=3866557.
  • Intellectual Property and Development: Lessons from Recent Economic Research - The book brings together empirical research that assesses the effects of changing intellectual property regimes on various measures of economic and social performance, ranging from international trade, foreign investment, and competition to innovation and access to new technologies. The book finds, among other conclusions, that a one-size fits all approach to intellectual property is unlikely to work. There is need to adjust intellectual property norms to domestic needs, taking into account developing countries' capacity to innovate, technological needs, and institutional capabilities. In addition, governments need to consider a range of complementary policies to maximize the benefits and reduce the costs of reformed intellectual property regulations.  The publication can be purchased at: http://publications.worldbank.org/ecommerce/catalog/product?item_id=3607026.
  • Protecting Asia's Biodiversity - The rich biodiversity of the East Asia and Pacific Region – with habitats ranging from tropical forests and grasslands to desert steppes and caves – needs to be protected and nurtured, as the Region continues to grow in economic strength, wealth and living standards, according to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Langur, the latest WB report analyzing the major biodiversity challenges facing the region.  These challenges include forest loss and habitat destruction, illegal wildlife trade, and lack of awareness.  The report was officially released on November 19 at the World Conservation Congress, held in Bangkok. The publication examines the WB's biodiversity portfolio in East Asia and the Pacific since 1999.  It also shows how the WB is working with a wide range of partners including governments, local and international CSOs, the private sector  and even faith communities from all the region’s major religions.  The publication can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/eap.
  • The Macroeconomics of HIV/AIDS - Policymakers and analysts looking to address the economic issues facing countries severely affected by HIV/AIDS must take into account the numerous social, economic and fiscal effects of the epidemic, warns the new WB research report The Macroeconomics of HIV/AIDS.  The report cautions that in the absence of any government intervention, an otherwise growing economy severely affected by HIV/AIDS could contract to about one-third its size in three generations. Public intervention could prevent this but it will require substantial investments, an estimated at 3 to 4 percent of GDP over what is currently being spent. The report can be found on the WB website on HIV/AIDS at: http://www.worldbank.org/hivaids.

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12. New Websites/Web Resources

  • Electronic Government Procurement (e-GP) - As a result of the Multilateral Development Bank's (MDG's) Procurement harmonization initiative, a new website has been launched to help client countries share knowledge, experience, and practices in the area of Electronic Government Procurement.  The website http://www.mdb-egp.orgwas officially launched on November 11 and is jointly sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank.  It's main aim is to provide assistance to client-countries in designing and implementing transparent and efficient country procurement systems.  The three organizations have been harmonizing their approach to the application of technology for public procurement in three major areas: policy & guidelines, country-based work, and operational procurement.
  • Quarterly Online External Debt Database - The WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) launched on November 18 an online database that offers access to external debt statistics for 41 countries, updated every three months.  The database is unique in that it brings together external debt statistics that are normally published individually by countries that subscribe to the IMF's Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).  It provides policymakers and market participants with more timely data in a format that enables cross-country comparison, as well as better support for balance-sheet analysis and surveillance initiatives.  The database is maintained by the WB and is available at: http://www.worldbank.org/data/working/QEDS/sdds_main.html.

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13. Upcoming and Ongoing Global Events/Discussions

  • Online Discussion on Women and Poverty - You are invited to participate in a worldwide online discussion on Women and Poverty, moderated by the WB's Gender and Development Group,  between January 10 to February 4, 2005. This is one in a series of online discussions organized by the United Nations Interagency-Network on Women and Gender Equality in preparation for the 2005 meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  The meeting will review and appraise the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. The objective of the online discussion is to draw on the collective experiences since Beijing to identify what has worked well and what hasn’t in reducing women’s poverty and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  This is an opportunity for individuals, groups and networks worldwide to share their knowledge.  Anyone with access to Internet will be able to participate by going to the discussion site at:  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/forums/review/.  You will need to register on the site in order to post a contribution (registration will start on December 28), but anyone will be able to read the discussion without registering during the period January 10 to February 4, 2005.
  • World Bank Institute's Labor Market Policies Core Course, February 28-March 11, 2005 - This two-week course organized by the World Bank Institute (WBI) and WB’s Human Development Network, will be held at the Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. between February 28 – March 11, 2005.  The course is designed for policymakers,  technical staff, and researchers in client countries, Bank staff from HQ and country offices, and members of the donor community, international organizations, and civil society.  The course will provide a training opportunity for those involved with labor issues and policies in developing countries.  This year’s course will draw on the wealth of  new research on labor markets in developing countries. The course announcement and registration form as well as more details of the course can be found at: http://www.worldbank.org/wbi/labormarkets/2005.html.

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14. Recent Global Events/Discussions

  • 2nd IWRM Conference held in Tokyo, Japan, December 6-9 - Japan Water Forum, a newly-established nonprofit organization chaired by Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, hosted the 2nd Integrated Water Resources Management Conference (IWRM) in Tokyo.  Mr. John Briscoe, the Bank's Senior Water Advisor now stationed in India, represented the World Bank in this conference.   Japan Water Forum was formerly the Secretariat of the 3rd World Water Forum held in Japan in 2003, and is now assigned to coordinate the Asia and Pacific preparatory process for the 4th World Water Forum to be held in Mexico in 2006.  http://www.waterforum.jp.
  • 18th ICFTU World Congress in Miyazaki, Japan, December 5-10 - The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) held its 18th World Congress "Globalizing Solidarity: Building a Global Movement for the Future" in Miyazaki, Japan on December 5-10.  The conference was hosted by the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (RENGO).  Mr. Tom Tsui, Deputy Special Representative of the Bank in Japan participated and made a presentation on the Bank's policies and evolving relations with labor unions.   For more information please visit: http://congress.icftu.org/ or http://www.jtuc-rengo.org/.
  • The Community Driven Development (CDD) Training of Trainers, December 5-10, 2004 - The training, held in Dakar, Senegal, was the 2nd Francophone CDD training of trainers.  Delivered in partnership with the Africa Region, as well as 4 local partners (NGOs: AFDS, ARED, IIED, and the Senegal Distance Learning Center), the course brought together experienced trainers from 8 countries.  Among the highlights of the workshop were 2 field visits, where the trainers either participated in implementing a local community scorecard on education or observed procurement practices in 3 rural villages supported by the Senegal Social Fund.  Distance learning techniques also included hands-on practice with videoconferencing, the Library of Learning Objects, and the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).  A DL workshop on CDD for government and civil society will follow, facilitated by the trainers who participated in this workshop.  These local trainers are also available to support future donor, government, private sector and civil society operations.  For more information please contact Veronica Nyhan Jones at  http://www1.worldbank.org/gdln/cesiafrica.htm.
  • "Using Country Systems" consultation meeting held in Tokyo, Japan, December 3 - The World Bank is now conducting a series of consultations on the issues paper "Issues in Using Country Systems in Bank's Operations" that discuss possibilities of the World Bank using the borrowing countries' systems for its operations in the areas of environment and social safeguard policies etc.  Mr. Colin Bruce, Senior Manager of Policy Review and Dissemination, and Mr .Stephen Lintner, Senior Advisor of Quality Assurance and Compliance Unit, had a half-day consultation with Japanese civil society representatives on December 3, as part of its public consultations held in different regions.  http://www.worldbank.org/countrysystems.
  • World Bank Calls for Action on Disability and Poverty, as World Celebrates International Day of Disabled Persons - As part of the international efforts to fight poverty through more inclusive development policies, the WB and its partners called for strengthening global cooperation and partnerships to "unlock" opportunities for the more than 600 million disabled people worldwide, of whom 400 million live in developing countries.  The two-day conference, held at the WB's headquarters on November 30 and December 1, was titled Disability and Inclusive Development: Sharing, Learning and Building Alliances.  Representatives from several hundred organizations from throughout the world discussed what has been accomplished in the field of disability over the past two years, with particular attention paid to efforts to mainstream disability concerns into operational work.   Dr. Amartya Sen, Lamont Professor at Harvard University and 1998 Nobel Laureate in economic science, noted in his keynote address that social intervention against disability had to include prevention as well as management and alleviation.  One of the break-out sessions examined how a Global Partnership for Development might be developed by mainstreaming a disability perspective into global civil society initiatives.  To read more about the event, please visit: http://www.worldbank.org/disabilityconference.
  • High-Level Roundtable on International Environmental Governance - The roundtable was one of three discussions, or "Future Dialogues", hosted by COM+: Alliance of Communicators for Sustainable Development, during the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress, held in Bangkok, November 17-25.  The debate included the Minister of Environment from Costa Rica, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez; the former Minister of Environment from Indonesia, Emil Salim; Meena Rahmann, Chair of Friends of the Earth International; Ian Johnson, WB Vice President for Sustainable Development; and Lawrence Tubiana, a former environmental advisor to French President Jacques Chirac. The roundtable participants concluded that without a strong commitment from Asian leaders and their respective societies, the future of environmental governance would be at stake. The rapid growth in population coupled with sustained economic growth will present a major challenge with regards to environmental and social factors.  To learn more about the event, as well as the COM+ Alliance, please visit: http://www.complusalliance.org/.  To learn more about the WB work on governance, please go to: http://www.worldbank.org/wbi/governance/.  More information on the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress, can be found at: http://www.iucn.org/congress/.
  • World Bank-Civil Society Discussion on Advancing Civil Society Accountability: Standards, Self-Regulation, and Certification, November 11 - The WB Civil Society Team on November 11 held its WB-Civil Society Lunch Discussion on the evolving issue of accountability among CSOs which is of growing interest to CSOs as well as for donor agencies, governments and individuals which support their activities.  It was the first of a series of discussions aiming to "unpack" the issues in the accountability debate and understand how different organizations are responding.  The session examined the case study of InterAction, an umbrella organization of over 160 US-based CSOs working internationally.  InterAction has been working for two decades to promote greater accountability among its member organizations and with its partners at the country level.  InterAction members have recently launched an initiative called "self-certification-plus" as well as a child sponsorship certification project in partnership with Social Accountability International (SAI).  The panel, composed of InterAction members, a representative from SAI as well as the WB, discussed these initiatives, preliminary lessons learned, and challenges for the future with a group of some 40 WB staff and CSOs.   Summary notes of the discussion will be posted on the Dialogues page of the Civil Society web site shortly.
  • Fourth LAC Regional Thematic Forum (RTF): Harvesting Opportunities - Rural Development in the 21st Century, October 19-21 - Rural Development in the 21st Century, October 19-21 - The Forum was held in San Jose, Costa Rica. Nearly 125 representatives from government, civil society, the private sector, academia and the WB attended the RTF to discuss the main challenges of rural development and the importance of the rural area for both local and national development. The main topics highlighted by participants during the Forum were: (i) the role of technology and knowledge as a motor for economic transformation and growth; (ii) the importance of building strategic alliances for successful rural development initiatives on the ground; (iii) the territorial approach to rural development and the need for strengthening intermediary institutions between the local and the provincial level; (iv) the consequences of economic, social and political inequality on development and economic growth; (v) the impact of migration on the social and economic rural landscape; and, (vi) the cultural dimension of rural development including the importance of gender and ethnicity for rural livelihoods.  More information about the event can be found at: http://www.bancomundial.org/cuartoforo/indexEN.html.

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